CR 38:43-59 (2008)  -  DOI:

Downscaling experiment for the Venice lagoon. II. Effects of changes in precipitation on biogeochemical properties

G. Cossarini1, S. Libralato1, S. Salon1, X. Gao2,3, F. Giorgi2, C. Solidoro1,*

1Department of Oceanography, Istituto Nazionale di Oceanografia e di Geofisica Sperimentale – OGS, Borgo Grotta Gigante-Brišciki 42/c, 34010 Sgonico-Zgonik (Trieste), Italy
2Earth System Physics Group, The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics – ICTP, Strada Costiera 11, 34014 Trieste, Italy
3National Climate Center of China, Beijing 100081, China
*Corresponding author. Email:

ABSTRACT: A downscaling approach is used to assess potential effects of variations in nutrient loads induced by possible future climate changes on biogeochemical properties of the Venice lagoon. The analysis is based on a hierarchy of dynamic and statistical models linking climatic change to effects on biogeochemical processes. The outputs of regional climate model simulations for present day and future (A2 and B2 IPCC emission scenarios) conditions are used to force 2 statistical models that provide forcing and boundary conditions for a 3D coupled transport-biogeochemical model of the lagoon. Results in terms of spatio-temporal dynamics of biogeochemical properties provide evidence of significant impacts of climate change. Under both the A2 and B2 scenarios, we observe an amplification of the seasonal precipitation patterns, with drier summers and wetter winters, which affect the timing of nutrient inputs to the lagoon. Nutrient loads are generally higher in the wintertime and lower in the summertime than in present-day conditions. In winter, nutrients are not used by phytoplankton whose productivity is low, and are mainly exported from the system. Conversely, reduced nutrient inputs to the lagoon in summer cause a reduction in planktonic productivity of the ecosystem. Between the 2 emission scenarios, the A2, which has higher levels of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, shows more intense impact. Analysis of the effects of additional scenarios indicates that policy-driven changes in nutrient loads can overbalance changes due to climate driven modification of precipitation patterns.

KEY WORDS: Downscaling · Scenario analysis · Biogeochemical impacts · Venice lagoon

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Cite this article as: Cossarini G, Libralato S, Salon S, Gao X, Giorgi F, Solidoro C (2008) Downscaling experiment for the Venice lagoon. II. Effects of changes in precipitation on biogeochemical properties. Clim Res 38:43-59.

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